India captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday said the key for his team will be not to get flustered by 300-plus scores as they begin their limited overs series against New Zealand in Napier on Wednesday.
“New Zealand always have fields that make the game high-scoring. The key is not to panic too much in the field when you see 300 being posted regularly. You just have to back yourself to get those runs, and set a big target when you’re batting first,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the first match.
“The last time we played (here), we probably didn’t have that kind of composure, to be relaxed in the field in terms of chasing close to 300.
“We take that as a challenge and we’re looking forward to doing what we did in Australia — believing in our abilities and giving in a balanced performance every time we step on the field,” he added.
In 2014, India fared poorly in this part of the world, not winning anything across the two Tests and five ODIs.
“If you see the last three years or so, we have really evolved as a batting group,” Kohli said.
“We are more sure and more aware of our abilities, and we are ready to counter all the things that are going to be thrown at us.
When the sides clashed in India last year, Kohli’s men clinched a closely-fought series 2-1.
“The fact that they are the No.3 ranked team in the world speaks about their consistency over the last couple of years,” Kohli said.
“We played them in India as well and we got beaten in Mumbai. All the games were competitive, and we felt they had a really good balance in their team – a great mix of youth and experience – and the bowling attack is experienced and not that old.
“Tim (Southee), Trent (Boult) all these guys are experienced and they have that energy and the buzz around them all the time.”
Asked about his Kiwi counterpart Kane Williamson and the experienced Ross Taylor, Kohli said: “He’s (Williamson) one of the best players in the world. When he is on song, he is the most attractive to watch.”
“Kane is always going to be a very big factor but at the same time Rosco (Ross Taylor) and all the other guys as well – you can’t take anyone lightly.
“Their batting usually revolves around Kane and Ross, and the other guys bat around them. We are aware of that and we are working on our plans.”
The series will also be India’s last overseas assignment before the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. But while acknowledging it would serve as preparation for the tournament, Kohli said winning matches was always the priority.
“There needs to be a collective effort towards refining ourselves as a team, approaching the World Cup,” Kohli said.
“And if we need to try out a few players here and there to see how they react in different situations or different positions in the team, we are open to do that as well.
“We don’t want to be too rigid because you have to be flexible in your mind and in your preparation to be able to be competitive in a big tournament like the World Cup,” he added.